LONDON (AP) — Chelsea and Manchester City both earned routine victories on Saturday to leave the destination of the Premier League trophy as unclear as before.
Although Chelsea tops the standings after beating Stoke 3-0, Liverpool can reclaim the lead with a victory at West Ham on Sunday. Manchester City brushed aside Southampton 4-1, meaning the 2012 champions and Liverpool both still have matters in their own hands before meeting at Anfield next weekend in a game that could go a long way toward deciding the title.
"We're very focused and know there will be difficult games to come," City captain Vincent Kompany said. "But we want to do the job right." Manchester United has struggled at home all season but maintained its good away form, with David Moyes' sixth-place side claiming a league-leading 10th road win by beating Newcastle 4-0 with Juan Mata scoring twice.
Fulham climbed off the bottom with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa to 18th place, five points from Norwich, which lost 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion. Crystal Palace's recovery continued with a 3-0 win at Cardiff that moved the London club seven points clear of danger above Swansea, which lost 1-0 at Hull.
At the Etihad Stadium, the hosts had a perfect start when Edin Dzeko was adjudged to have been fouled by Jose Fonte and Yaya Toure scored from the penalty spot in the third minute. But City couldn't extend its lead and defender Pablo Zabaleta tripped Jack Cork in the area, allowing Rickie Lambert to score a 34th straight penalty for Southampton in the 37th.
Stung by conceding, City produced a rapid response, with Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko both scoring in first-half injury time. But it took until the 81st for City to score again, with Stevan Jovetic tapping into the net from Jesus Navas' cross.
"In the first 45 minutes we didn't play well," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "We didn't recover the ball against a team that plays very well, has a lot of possession and has very good technical players.
"But in our worst moment, we scored three goals and I don't remember many clear chances for Southampton, only an unnecessary penalty." While Southampton disputed City's penalty and questioned if Nasri was offside for his goal, Stoke had no grounds to complain about the result at Chelsea, which recovered from losses in the Premier League and the Champions League over the last week.
Mohamed Salah marked his first Chelsea start by netting the opener in the 32nd minute from Nemanja Matic's cutback. After the break, Salah, who joined from Basel in January, won the penalty that Frank Lampard first saw saved before netting the rebound.
Salah set up Willian to curl in Chelsea's third in the 72nd to wrap up a fifth consecutive home win, with the team scoring 17 unanswered goals. "It was a very important win," Lampard said. "It's been a tough week, you don't like losing games."
At St. James' Park, United scored four goals for the second successive league match, though the team has little hope of capturing any of the four Champions League qualification places. Mata made it three goals in two games, with the 25-year-old Spaniard's first at Newcastle coming directly from a free kick.
Showing that United can cope without injured striker Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and substitute Adnan Januzaj added further goals in the second half to hand Newcastle a fourth loss in five league games.